Evening of lectures and panel discussion on Occupation Children in Austria
On November 17, 2016, an evening of lectures and a panel discussion on Occupation Children in Austria was held at the picturesque Trautenfels Castle in Styria, Austria. The aim was to discuss parameters that are crucial for the often difficult biographies of these Children Born of War and their lengthy search for their paternal roots. It should also offer the possibility for Occupation Children as well as the second generation to get to know each other and exchange their experiences.
After an introduction by Katharina Krenn, head of the Trautenfels Castle, Barbara Stelzl-Marx, Deputy Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann-Institute for Research on Consequences of War and Director of Research of CHIBOW, gave an overview of the history of Occupation Children in Austria and presented the volume "Besatzungskinder. Die Nachkommen alliierter Soldaten in Österreich und Deutschland" (ed. together with Silke Satjukow, Böhlau 2015). ESR Lukas Schretter presented his research project on children fathered by British soldiers and born to Austrian women after World War II. Philipp Rohrbach, Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, focused on the experiences of children fathered by African-American GIs in Austria and on the support for these children by the youth welfare service.
Christian Mader, Vienna, presented the activities of "Österreich findet euch", in particular the support of this association in finding the biological fathers of Occupation Children in Austria. Rosa Schwarzkopf read out parts of her recently published memoir and thereby shared her experiences as a child of a Soviet soldier in the post-war period.
The panel discussion, including Lucia Ofner, Elisabeth F., Helmut Köglberger and Eleonore Dupuis, brought to light personal stories of Occupation Children from all four occupation zones in post-war Austria. The panelists described how their biographical background had had an effect on their upbringing and exchanged what steps they had taken in their efforts to find their biological fathers. The panel discussion was moderated by Barbara Stelzl-Marx.
The event had been initiated by Elisabeth F., who herself is the daughter of a French soldier serving in Austria after World War II. Barbara Stelzl-Marx, and Wolfgang Otte, Deputy Director of the Trautenfels Castle, organised the evening of lectures in cooperation with Christian Mader, who is also initiator of the website http://www.abgaengig-vermisst.at.
The event programme you can find here.
There is now also a German-language radio report on the event you can find here.
Photos: Trautenfels Castle, Austria